Encounter

#17 Kombucha

With

Recorded on 20 February, 2023 at the Jan van Eyck Academie

Fermentation becomes a metaphor for rethinking time and productivity in a capitalist society. Aslı Hatipoğlu lays out more about microbial processes and local atmospheric conditions that develop or interact with the growing of a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY).

As a self-taught chef, Asli uses food as a focal point to investigate interwoven themes of psychology, science, politics, ancestral knowledge, spirituality, and mental health. As part of her research, she curates participatory dinners that shed light to food history as well as critically questioning the way we dine.

Through fostering symbiotic relationships with living bacteria, Hatipoğlu’s work seeks not only to shift our perspectives of ourselves but also to reclaim food production and encourage food sovereignty in a non-commercial and liberatory way.

Hatipoğlu has situated her practice in the radical degeneration of our relationship with the environment over the last two centuries. Since the industrial revolution, shifts toward more processed foods have interfered with our microbiomes and how we cope with disease. Furthermore, most of the information behind labels are not explained. Asli investigates the products behind the labels and cultivates beneficial microbiotic colonies that foster more robust ecosystems. She shares these colonies with others as a way to build new communities and bring attention to ecology. By reintroducing long forgotten ancestral insights into molds and fungi, she aims to change attitudes in ways that will reduce future waste and help sustain a healthier planet. She also introduces different sort of relationship to the self (observatory) through building these more nuanced relations to the non-human world of microbes and yeasts.

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